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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    Posted on Thu, Aug. 31, 2006

    [size=13pt]Signals mixed on Vikings stadium[/size]
    Land options lapse in Blaine, but Wilf says he still wants to play

    BY DAVE ORRICK
    Pioneer Press


    Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has let a handful of options to buy land in Blaine for a new stadium expire, prompting at least one project supporter to say chances for the plan look grim.

    The owner of one large parcel of land — nearly 20 percent of the project's 750-acre footprint — said Wednesday he hasn't heard from Wilf since the purchase option lapsed last month. He doesn't expect Wilf to come calling again.

    But a Vikings spokesman insisted Wilf remains committed to the Anoka County proposal, though the team's owner also has been listening to Minneapolis officials. Mayor R.T. Rybak has said he doesn't want to lose the football team, and city staffers have been floating visions for the future of the area around the Metrodome that include a possible home for the Vikings.

    On Wednesday, Minneapolis chief planner Lee Sheehy presented two ideas for the neighborhood to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. The commission owns and operates the 24-year-old Dome.

    Looking ahead 15 or so years, one plan includes the stadium — the second doesn't. But the second plan features a large circular park, an amenity that Sheehy acknowledged would be a perfect spot for a new stadium.

    While Sheehy and commission members have been cagey about publicly stating what they want, Anoka County commissioners running for re-election have had trouble avoiding the issue.

    "For us, it looks bad," said Commissioner Dick Lang, who has been a booster of the Blaine project. "That's basically it. It's pretty grim. Things are looking like the stadium's not really going to go happen."

    Lang faces six opponents in the Sept. 12 primary, including at least two who are campaigning against his support of the stadium and a 0.75 percent sales tax increase to build it.

    The vote could be important because four of the board's seven seats are up, and the balance could shift from pro-stadium to anti-stadium.

    The actual agreement between Anoka County and the Vikings ran out after the 2006 Minnesota Legislature went home. Lawmakers approved plans to build stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. But they told the county and Vikings to return with a new proposal by Jan. 15. The university and baseball team also play home games in the Dome.

    In July, Wilf, several county commissioners and Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan held a news conference to announce they remain committed to the suburban Vikings stadium. The plan would include a 68,500-seat stadium that would showcase a $1.6 billion commercial development with shops, a hotel and a convention site.

    But that same month, Wilf told Rick Wilder, who owns nearly 140 acres in the heart of the stadium site, that he wasn't interested in acting on his option to buy Wilder's land.

    "He said he can't swing it," Wilder said. "To me, it seemed as if they were pretty serious about bowing out."

    Because Blaine has frozen any major developments on the land, Wilder said he's unsure what he'll do now with his parcel, which is home to the Metro Gun Club.

    Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said Wilder got the wrong impression when the option expired.

    "It doesn't mean we're not interested," Bagley said. "The financial terms of the option meant it made more sense that it was time to step back. We expressed that we were still very interested, not only to the property owner, but to the city of Blaine and Anoka County."

    Bagley said that of the dozen or so landowners of key parcels, Wilf still has options to buy "a couple." And some options can be renewed.

    The Army Corps of Engineers this summer has been scrutinizing prior assumptions made about wetlands that drape the acreage, throwing another potential obstacle in front of the Anoka County plans.

    Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, a stadium supporter who is not running for re-election, said there's no reason to believe that Wilf taking a step back from land deals has any significance.

    "I know (Wilder's) was a major parcel, but I'm talking to Zygi, and he said he's still interested," Erhart said. "I think he's seen the price of land going down, and he figures he can renegotiate those at any time."

    Still, Erhart said he won't give the stadium better than a 50-50 chance, given all the uncertainties, not the least of which involves recalculating all the costs and re-examining whether the football stadium itself could have its own helmet.

    "Right now, we're trying to figure out the cost of retractable roof versus open air," he said, adding that he doubts any revised price tags will be made public until after the Nov. 7 election.

    The Vikings lease at the Metrodome expires at the end of the 2011 season.

    Dave Orrick can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-2171.


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Broncofreak21's Avatar
    Broncofreak21 is offline Waterboy
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    "singersp" wrote:
    Posted on Thu, Aug. 31, 2006

    [size=13pt]Signals mixed on Vikings stadium[/size]
    Land options lapse in Blaine, but Wilf says he still wants to play

    BY DAVE ORRICK
    Pioneer Press


    Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has let a handful of options to buy land in Blaine for a new stadium expire, prompting at least one project supporter to say chances for the plan look grim.

    The owner of one large parcel of land — nearly 20 percent of the project's 750-acre footprint — said Wednesday he hasn't heard from Wilf since the purchase option lapsed last month. He doesn't expect Wilf to come calling again.

    But a Vikings spokesman insisted Wilf remains committed to the Anoka County proposal, though the team's owner also has been listening to Minneapolis officials. Mayor R.T. Rybak has said he doesn't want to lose the football team, and city staffers have been floating visions for the future of the area around the Metrodome that include a possible home for the Vikings.

    On Wednesday, Minneapolis chief planner Lee Sheehy presented two ideas for the neighborhood to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. The commission owns and operates the 24-year-old Dome.

    Looking ahead 15 or so years, one plan includes the stadium — the second doesn't. But the second plan features a large circular park, an amenity that Sheehy acknowledged would be a perfect spot for a new stadium.

    While Sheehy and commission members have been cagey about publicly stating what they want, Anoka County commissioners running for re-election have had trouble avoiding the issue.

    "For us, it looks bad," said Commissioner slick willy Lang, who has been a booster of the Blaine project. "That's basically it. It's pretty grim. Things are looking like the stadium's not really going to go happen."

    Lang faces six opponents in the Sept. 12 primary, including at least two who are campaigning against his support of the stadium and a 0.75 percent sales tax increase to build it.

    The vote could be important because four of the board's seven seats are up, and the balance could shift from pro-stadium to anti-stadium.

    The actual agreement between Anoka County and the Vikings ran out after the 2006 Minnesota Legislature went home. Lawmakers approved plans to build stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. But they told the county and Vikings to return with a new proposal by Jan. 15. The university and baseball team also play home games in the Dome.

    In July, Wilf, several county commissioners and Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan held a news conference to announce they remain committed to the suburban Vikings stadium. The plan would include a 68,500-seat stadium that would showcase a $1.6 billion commercial development with shops, a hotel and a convention site.

    But that same month, Wilf told Rick Wilder, who owns nearly 140 acres in the heart of the stadium site, that he wasn't interested in acting on his option to buy Wilder's land.

    "He said he can't swing it," Wilder said. "To me, it seemed as if they were pretty serious about bowing out."

    Because Blaine has frozen any major developments on the land, Wilder said he's unsure what he'll do now with his parcel, which is home to the Metro Gun Club.

    Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said Wilder got the wrong impression when the option expired.

    "It doesn't mean we're not interested," Bagley said. "The financial terms of the option meant it made more sense that it was time to step back. We expressed that we were still very interested, not only to the property owner, but to the city of Blaine and Anoka County."

    Bagley said that of the dozen or so landowners of key parcels, Wilf still has options to buy "a couple." And some options can be renewed.

    The Army Corps of Engineers this summer has been scrutinizing prior assumptions made about wetlands that drape the acreage, throwing another potential obstacle in front of the Anoka County plans.

    Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, a stadium supporter who is not running for re-election, said there's no reason to believe that Wilf taking a step back from land deals has any significance.

    "I know (Wilder's) was a major parcel, but I'm talking to Zygi, and he said he's still interested," Erhart said. "I think he's seen the price of land going down, and he figures he can renegotiate those at any time."

    Still, Erhart said he won't give the stadium better than a 50-50 chance, given all the uncertainties, not the least of which involves recalculating all the costs and re-examining whether the football stadium itself could have its own helmet.

    "Right now, we're trying to figure out the cost of retractable roof versus open air," he said, adding that he doubts any revised price tags will be made public until after the Nov. 7 election.

    The Vikings lease at the Metrodome expires at the end of the 2011 season.

    Dave Orrick can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-2171.

    Thanks for the post.
    I haven't lived there in over a year, and was wondering where this situation was at... :-

  3. #3
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    OK, so the "options" are expiring and Zygi isn't buying the land. I wouldn't be buy it either. Why would you buy land when you don't know if or when the stadium will be built? The best thing Zygi can do is take out another option to buy the land in a year if the stadium passes. But apparently the landowners don't want to give another option.
    This entire article is based on an old saying, "Why buy a pig in a poke!"
    It's another attempt by the Star/Tribune to keep the Vikings from ANY land but the Metrodome of which they are part owner.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  4. #4
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    "COJOMAY" wrote:
    OK, so the "options" are expiring and Zygi isn't buying the land. I wouldn't be buy it either. Why would you buy land when you don't know if or when the stadium will be built? The best thing Zygi can do is take out another option to buy the land in a year if the stadium passes. But apparently the landowners don't want to give another option.
    This entire article is based on an old saying, "Why buy a pig in a poke!"
    It's another attempt by the Star/Tribune to keep the Vikings from ANY land but the Metrodome of which they are part owner.
    Plus the land he was going to buy was deemed a wildlife area or something on that nature by the DNR & it sounded like they'd never let a stadium to be built there.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
    Warp's Avatar
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    Well this doesnt sound that bad. Its not like there isnt other places to build the stadium on. And who knows if the stadium will ever get approved anyway. (it better soon!!)

  6. #6
    Vikes_King's Avatar
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    that was completely blown out of proportion lol, all i know is im starting to get tired of this, the state and media alike never really have given the vikings their due, im glad wilf is trying so hard to get something done, but as a fan im getting tired of the legislatures lack of interest in the team


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  7. #7
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Signals mixed on Vikings stadium

    [size=13pt]Vikings say Blaine still in play[/size]

    Despite talk of the team staying in Minneapolis, Vikings and Anoka County officials stress interest in Blaine stadium plan.

    Paul Levy, Star Tribune
    Last update: August 31, 2006 – 9:28 PM


    A day after officials representing Minneapolis and the Metrodome discussed keeping the Vikings downtown after their lease expires, the team and Anoka County officials responded Thursday by saying Blaine is still the leading site for a new football stadium.
    "Just because we're not up there every day doesn't mean we're not still interested in moving this project forward," said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development.

    "We're still proceeding," said Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, who said he spoke with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf last week. "Zygi told me he's still very interested."

    The comments came after Lee Sheehy, Minneapolis' director of community planning and economic development, spoke Wednesday to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages the Metrodome. Sheehy said, "It's unlikely the mayor or the council would support a significant cash investment" involving the Vikings. For the Vikings to remain downtown -- possibly in a new stadium on the Metrodome site -- Minneapolis and the team would need the right "regional partners," Sheehy said.

    Anoka County still hopes to be the Vikings' partner. But stalled land negotiations, the uncertainty of commissioners' races in Anoka County, debate over the need for a retractable roof, and concern over land development in Blaine by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have cast a stadium-sized shadow over a proposed deal.

    Even in Blaine, there are mixed signals. Last week, the City Council extended for another year a moratorium on developing the 740-acre site designated for a proposed stadium, renewing hope that the Vikings will relocate to Anoka County. Yet, the team has had few conversations with city officials since June, Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan said.

    But Bagley said the Vikings have met with county and city officials at least once since Wilf repeated his interested in building in Blaine at a news conference in July.

    Setting aside land?

    One landowner, John Trost, said the city is "saving the land for the Vikings." Trost owns 80 acres that would be part of Wilf's proposed $1.67 billion Northern Lights retail and entertainment complex that would include the Vikings' $675 million stadium.

    But the city has plans to explore other options if the Vikings decide to abandon Anoka County for Minneapolis or another site, said Brian Schafer, Blaine's community development director.

    The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season. The team's agreement with Anoka County, calling for both parties to contribute $280 million toward a stadium in Blaine, expired at the end of the legislative session.

    A new package from the county and the Vikings must be presented to the Legislature by Jan. 15, but realistically has to be in place by year's end, Bagley and Erhart said.

    Wilf must deal with as many as 20 Blaine land owners. Some, such as Trost, said they have yet to negotiate with Wilf. Others, such as Rick and Rita Wilder, who own 126 acres -- one of the biggest chunks of land at the site -- were offered $15 million but are seeking $20 million, according to Ryan and Rita Wilder's father, Loren Hentges. Hentges said he gave the land to his daughter.

    Rick Wilder has said that he thought the Vikings were "pretty serious about bowing out."

    But Bagley said Thursday that the Vikings are very much interested in the Wilders' property, "and Rick Wilder knows that."


    Paul Levy • 612-673-4419 • [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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